Who will the Dolphins pick? Joe Schad makes his first 2021 NFL mock draft for all 32 teams

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post

Take a look at the teams picking at the bottom of the first round of the NFL Draft on April 29. 

The Bucs, Chiefs, Bills, Packers, Saints and Ravens have one key thing in common: dynamic offenses.

Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Buffalo, Green Bay, New Orleans and Baltimore ranked 3, 6, 2, 1, 5 and 7, respectively, in NFL regular-season points per game. And we know how often they won.

Which brings us to the Dolphins. Buoyed by one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Dolphins finished 10-6, but did not make the playoffs. Miami's offense wasn't quite as bad as you may think, finishing 15th in points per game.

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris (22) jumps over Florida Gators defensive back Kaiir Elam (5) during the fourth quarter in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Dec. 19 in Atlanta. Will the Dolphins take the game-breaking back with one of their first-round draft picks?

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is gone. But barring a gargantuan deal for Deshaun Watson of the Texans, Tua Tagovailoa will return at quarterback.

There is every reason to believe Tagovailoa's age 23 season will be much better than his rookie debut. Those nine starts gave him a feel for the pro game.

Tagovailoa's inexperienced offensive line should be improved. Tua's understanding of what defenses are trying to do to him will be enhanced.

And perhaps most  importantly, Tagovailoa's entire body should be stronger with an offseason focused on training, as opposed to rehabilitation.

But for that leap forward to occur, general manager Chris Grier must provide Tua weapons. Grier must add speed. He must add excitement. He must add play-makers.

And that's why we can't help but project Miami to select a wide receiver and a running back with the third and 18th picks.

More draft analysis:Which mock picks are most popular for Miami Dolphins?

If some NFL team is desperate for a quarterback or an offensive tackle, it is highly advisable for Miami to pick up a future first-rounder by moving back within the Top 10. But those type of deals are far more often sought than executed.

It's never easy to fill out a mock draft in early March, before the start of free agency. Team needs will change. Perhaps a few teams that might have drafted a quarterback will instead acquire one in a trade.

Other than Trevor Lawrence going to Urban Meyer and the Jaguars with the first overall pick, there are many arguments to be made. Which is great fun. Here is my first crack at a 2021 NFL mock draft. There will be at least one more. For simplicity sake, no trades were allowed.

(Among the Dolphins I've correctly placed in at least one mock draft over the last four years are Tua Tagovailoa, Christian Wilkins and Charles Harris. Sorry to bring up Harris out of nowhere. But hey, nobody bats 1.000, not even general managers.)

Joe Schad's Mock Draft 1.0

1. Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson — Urban came out of retirement for Trevor.

2. Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU — New coach. New quarterback. New excitement.

3. Dolphins — Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU — Incredible athlete. Dominant Tua target.

More:5 things to know about Ja'Marr Chase

4. Falcons — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State — Worthy successor to Matt Ryan.

5. Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon — Joe Burrow has his Anthony Munoz.

More:5 things to know about Penei Sewell

6. Eagles — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida — Hall of Fame potential.

7. Lions — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State — Speed. Power. Herculean.

8. Panthers — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State — The next dynamic Panthers QB.

9. Broncos — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech — Next great Hokies NFL CB.

10. Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama — Son of former Dolphins great.

11. Giants — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — Speedster is first Bama WR off board.

12. 49ers — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern — Can excel at tackle or guard.

13. Chargers — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC — Can excel at tackle or guard.

14. Vikings — Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan — Explosive. Athletic. Violent. 

15. Patriots — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — Heisman winner slides to Bill.

More:5 things to know about DeVonta Smith, a draft option for the Dolphins

16. Cardinals — Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson — Can be Kyler Murray's best bud.

17. Raiders — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame — Can cover and blitz.

18. Dolphins — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama — Ronnie Brown (2005) last 1st round RB.

19. Washington — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama — Heavily endorsed by 'Bama WRs.

20. Bears — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota — Allen Robinson replacement/successor.

21. Colts — Christian Darrishaw, OT, Virginia Tech — Protection for Carson Wentz.

22. Titans — Jaelen Phillips, Edge, Miami — Speed. Burst. Explosiveness.

23. Jets — Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami  — Jets thrilled to see Rousseau here.

Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau (15) celebrates wearing the turnover chain during last season’s game against Central Michigan.

24. Steelers — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina — Complete press corner.

25. Jaguars — Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington — Versatile, quick, impactful.

26. Browns — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa — Big, fast, instinctive.

27. Ravens — Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU — Smooth and rangy, like Ravens love. 

28. Saints — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida — Pocket rocket.

29. Packers — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue — Yes, a receiver for Aaron Rodgers.

30. Bills — Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan — Trench mauler used to snow.

31. Chiefs — DT Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama — Tremendous size and upside

32. Bucs — Landon Dickerson, C/G, Alabama — Powerful Tom Brady protection.

NFL Draft

April 29-May 1

Cleveland

ESPN, NFL Network

More Joe Schad:Dolphins must avoid third-pick 'jinx' and find 'Gold Jacket' talent